Purity in Heart
Union with God “The problem of our life is union with God, and sin completely prevents this; therefore flee from sin as from a terrible enemy, as from the destroyer of the soul, because to be without God is death and not life. Let us therefore understand our destination; let us always remember that our common Master calls us to union with Himself” (20). Necessity of Cultivating a Pure Heart “It is especially necessary for Christians to have a pure heart, so that they may be able to see God with the eyes of the heart, as He is, with His love to us and with all His perfections, as well as to be able to contemplate the beauty of the angels, all the glory of the Holy Virgin, the beauty of Her soul and Her greatness, as the Mother of God, and the beauty of the souls of God’s saints, and their love to us…An impure heart…cannot see any of the things we have indicated” (20). The Soul is a Mirror “Our soul is, so to say, a reflection of God’s countenance, and the brighter this reflection is, the clearer and calmer is the soul; and the less bright this reflection is, the darker, the more disturbed is the soul…Our heart is a mirror; as the objects of the outer world are reflected in an ordinary mirror, so ought the truth to be reflected with all exactitude in our hearts” (22). Prayer and Faith “Men have fallen into unbelief because they have either completely lost the spirit of prayer, or never had it at all, nor have it now – in short, because they do not prayer” (24) The Harm of Rushed Prayer “You who pray, give God your heart, that loving true heart, with which you love your children, your father and mother, your benefactors and friends, and in which you feel the sweetness of pure unfeigned love. Sometimes during a long-continued prayer only a few minutes are really pleasing to God and constitute true prayer and true service to God. The chief thing in prayer is the nearness of the heart to God, as proved by the sweetness of God’s presence in the soul” (26). Cold Prayer “As after having unworthily communicated, so also after having prayed unworthily and coldly, our soul feels equally ill at ease. This means that God does not enter our heart, being offended at its unbelief and coldness, and allows the evil spirit to nestle in our hearts, in order to make us feel the difference between His own presence and its yoke” (29). Watching Your Passions “Watch yourselves – your passions especially – in your home life, where they appear freely, like moles in a safe place. Outside our own home, some of our passions are usually screened by other more decorous passions, whilst at home there is no possibility of driving away these black moles that undermine the integrity of our soul” (33). How to Respond to Another’s Faults “If you wish to correct anyone from his faults, do not think of correcting him solely by your own means: you would only do harm by your own passions, for instance, by pride and by the irritability arising from it; ‘but cast thy burden upon the Lord,’ and pray to God, ‘Who trieth the hearts and reins’ with all your heart, that He Himself may enlighten the mind and heart of that man. If He sees that your prayer breathes love, and that it really comes from the depth of your heart, He will infallibly fulfil the desire of your heart, and you yourself will soon tell, seeing the change that has taken place in him for whom you have prayed, that it is the work of ‘the right hand of God, the most High’” (36). Spending Time With Saints “you do not understand how the saints in Heaen can hear us when we pray to them. But how do the rays of the sun bend down from Heaven to us, lighting everything throughout the earth? The saints in the spiritual world are like the rays of the sun in the material world. God is the eternal, life-giving Sun, and the saints are the rays of this wise Sun. As the eyes of the Lord are constantly looking upon the earth and upon terrestrial beings, so also the eyes of the saints cannot but turn towards the same direction as the provident gaze of the Lord…The saints see very clearly, widely, and far: they see our spiritual wants; they see and hear all those who call upon them with their whole hearts…How easy it is to communicate with the saints! It is only necessary to purify the eye of the heart, to fix it firmly upon a saint known to you, to pray to him for what you want, and you will obtain it” (43).